Dorothea Dix Hospital is once again set to close.
Lanier Cansler, the state secretary of Health and Human Services, said today he expects the Raleigh mental hospital to shut its doors by the end of the year, reports Michael Biesecker.
Dix, the first institution of its kind in North Carolina, has been in continuous operation since 1856.
"For the current fiscal year, no funds were appropriated by the General Assembly for Dorothea Dix Hospital, and we have been forced to make some very difficult decisions to address this shortfall," Cansler wrote in a memo sent to Dix staff.
All remaining patient services at Dix will be relocated to Central Regional Hospital in Butner and Cherry Hospital in Goldsboro, he said.
State administrators have been working to close Dix for years. The aging facility was set to close in 2008, but a lawsuit over safety concerns with the newly constructed state hospital in Butner led a judge to block the shutdown. There have also been extensive problems with patient abuse and neglect at Cherry in Goldsboro.
But the legal injunction barring Dix's closure was lifted last year, and administrators have slowly been moving patients from the Raleigh facility to the other hospitals for months.
In his letter, Cansler lauded the "outstanding care and treatment" the staff at Dix has provided in what he termed an uncertain time. He urged those losing their jobs to seek new positions at the hospital in Butner, about a 45 minute drive to the north.
Further details about the closure plans for Dix will be announced in the coming days, Cansler said.
UPDATE: DHHS says some services will remain on the Dix campus under the direction of Central Regional Hospital, including 24 forensic beds and a child outpatient clinic.